"Prosecutors in some jurisdictions report an increase in victim and witness intimidation: some prosecutors have estimated intimidation as a factor in 75 to 100 percent of the violent crimes committed in some gang-dominated neighborhoods. This Research in Action summarizes recent developments in gang- and drug-related intimidation of victims and witnesses, current responses to the problem by police and prosecutors, and emerging models and strategies for its prevention and suppression. Gang- and drug-related intimidation may be case-specific or communitywide. The wholesale intimidation of neighborhoods can be as harmful to witness cooperation as an explicit threat made against an individual. Each case-specific act of violence against victims or witnesses promotes the communitywide perception that any cooperation with the criminal justice system is dangerous. Factors that contribute to the reluctance of witnesses to step forward include fear, strong community ties, or a deepseated distrust of law enforcement. Community members may also consider gang and drug crimes as outside the scope of their concern or responsibility."
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/